Wednesday 18th of April 2012
We have made it to Ankara! And our way was incredible. We felt heat, cold and wind, cycled on flat ways, hilly ways and mountains, enjoyed lonely camping nights, lively evenings with new friends, tears and laughter.
We leaveFethiye at noon. I expect to cycle minimum 50 km before sunset. It doesd not take long until I give up. We are in the middle of a huge mountain and I have been wheeling for the last hour. Cycling this uphill is too hard for me. I am covered in sweat and dust and decide not to move any higher anymore. We look out for a place to camp after only 30 kilometers.
By the following morning we manage to arrive on top of the mountain. I am very proud on myself until I see the sign that showes that we are 345 meters above the sea level. 345 meters only? We have managed far worse altitudes without wheeling before. My cycling muscles have definitely shrunk. We go downhill again, but my mood gets worse and worse. I keep complaining and annoying poor Roberto. But with the time I forget my anger and fall into a meditation mood. When we arrive to Köyceğis we both deserve a good break.
We stay for two nights, get our bikes repaired again and calm down in Tarkan’s bike shop. When we leave Köyceğis we feel prepared for the road – and for hills higher than 345 meters. We start in a good speed and full of motivation. The first kilometers uphill cannot stop us. Then I get slower and slower. It was warm, the forests and rocks around us look beautiful but I cannot enjoy them. The bike seemes to be heavier with every meter. Truck drivers blow their horns to support us. Scared to death I nearly jump down the street every time. When I cannot move a bit anymore we arrive to a family’s house in the middle of nothing. I am hungry, sleepy, sweaty, grumpy and not too satisfied with my own stamina. Still the family is very friendly to us and Gökhan, the oldest son, showes us a place close to camp.
We make friends with the family and all my anger and bad mood is blown away soon. Nuriye, Gökhans mother, invites us to their place where she offers us selfmade Yufka (milk product) with scrumbled egg. She puts a carpet on the floor and puts the tray on top of it. There is no table and there are no chairs. We all sit on the floor drinking tea. The oven is hot. Nuriye opens the door from time to time to let some cool air in. The chicken cluck outside, the younger boy Hakan giggles. We are very happy that we have stopped here.
By the following morning we go on with new power. We keep going uphill but there is no need to wheel anymore. When we arrive to the main road again there is more space for us. We can even go side by side. It is getting colder soon. The landscape changes form green grass and trees to beige rocks and yellow grass. We are gaining meters. In the early afternoon we finally make it to the top: 1030 Meters above sea level. So this is a mountain. We are very proud of ourselves and manage to cycle 50 kilometers on this day but our average speed does not climb above 11 km/h
From now on we cope better with the hills. Maybe we have gained some stamina, maybe the up hills are less steep than in the beginning, but we get further and further with every day ad our average speed raises too.
Finally I can enjoy cycling again. The road is big enough but there is not too much traffic. It is not too cool and not to warm either, we enjoy delicious food from the region (honey, bread, olives, yoghurt, cheese, tomato and fruits) and get to know some nice people in the small villages around.
The last night before arriving Denizli we camp in a small but beautiful village called Sarıabat. We are lucky because we arrive for the weekly food market. We camp just on the side of the snow covered mountains and it is the first time for a while that we feel cold at night.
On the following morning we get on the bikes and cycle 30 kilometers straight downhill into Denizlil. What a great start in a day.